I love a good noodle bar in the cold and wet London winter weather. The warmth of the restaurant with its steamy soup bowls is always a great tummy warmer.
So, Emma, Charlotte, Pam and I found ourselves in Koya this specific evening. It exactly how you would imagine a noodle bar in Japan with its planks of wooden menus covering the walls.
Now, I am usually a Ramen girl but Koya is a specialist Udon bar. Ramen is a thin and curly egg noodle, which I absolutely adore as I feel that it really absorbs the flavours of the soup. Udon, on the other hand, is a thick rice noodle, which I very rarely eat, but if you are going out to eat Udon, then Koya is definitely the place to go.
We started off the evening with a bowl of duck offal (£8.90) and a plate of tempura squid balls (£8.90). Adventurous!
The offal was actually very nice – a mixture of chestnuts, liver and gizzard in a thick sweet soy sauce. Not to everyone’s taste, but if you enjoy top to tail eating it is lovely, if not, the menu is quite big and there is lots of other things to choose from.
The tempura squid balls were different than I thought they would be – they were better. They were mixed with spring onion with a light batter that stayed slightly crisp even after dipped in the sauce.
Then we dug into the Udon – a Kamo (£13.30) and a Butajiru (£11.80).
The Kamu is Udon served in a hot chicken broth with sliced duck breast and duck meat balls. Meat balls in soup can turn out quite dry but all the duck in the soup was cooked perfectly – the breast still slightly pink just the way it should be.
The Butajiru is Udon served in a hot miso soup with pork and vegetables – also gorgeous. For me, a noodle soup is as much about the soup as the filling, and the soups were great.
We had some Tanuki (bits of tempura batter £0.60) to sprinkle into our Udon soups, which added a bit of extra texture.
I will still say I am very much a Ramen girl, but the dishes were great and its a cute little tummy warming bar. A must try.